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  1. First, I just want to say thank you to all members on this forum. I've already learned so many tips and tricks for working with this amazing breed, and look forward to continual learning. My dog, Finn, is a 1 year old border collie. I've had him since he was 8 weeks old. I am a first time border collie owner, and our journey together thus far has been filled with lots of learning on both ends. Finn's grown into a polite, friendly, and happy dog, and I've learned so much about how to interact with and motivate him in a constructive way. While I've been able to successfully coach Finn through many characteristic Border Collie-isms (pulling like a maniac on the leash, lunging at cars while walking, etc.), I'm having limited success in helping him learn how to ride calmly in the car. I've looked through the forum regarding this topic, since I know I'm not the first to have this issue, but am hoping for some additional input. The situation: Up until about 7 months, Finn rode happily in the car, laying quietly in the back seat. Around 7 months, he began to notice stuff out the window. He transitioned to sitting and staring intently ("trance" mode), but still being quiet. This soon progressed to growling at certain objects as they approached, particularly highway/freeway signs (the big ones suspended overhead that indicate exits). In hindsight, I realize that this behavior should have been immediately addressed. Chalk that one up to being a novice border collie owner. His obsession with street signs then advanced to barking madly at them and racing from side to side in the back seat to make sure he didn't miss a single one. While in this aroused state, he was mentally unreachable - he didn't respond to any commands that are usually fairly solid (down, sit) and wouldn't even sniff at treats (kibble, ham). Since this behavior is distracting and dangerous to the driver, and obviously distressing to Finn, it was time (belatedly) to intervene. My first attempt was to restrict his movement with a harness/seatbelt, and to put shades over the window to reduce visual stimuli. No luck - he repeatedly tore the shade down, and shifted from occasional barking to continual loud/scared barking and "screaming". I think this was because he didn't like the way the seatbelt was holding him, but not sure. So I moved on to a covered crate, both to restrict his movement and to restrict what he can see outside. He uses a crate for sleeping at home, and shows no hesitation to jump in the car crate. We've been working through a desensitization process - getting in and out of the crate with lots of treats, getting treats while the car is parked but running, and if still calm, taking short trips to fun places (park, trails, beach, etc.) with treats/praise delivered when he is being quiet (I'm using a tube to roll treats to him as I drive). I also have his favorite toy in the crate to give him a chewing option. He doesn't whine at all while the car is parked but running, but often begins a high whine when we start to move. We've been working on this about a week, with limited progress. We go from fine and calm when parked/car running, to agitated and whining as soon as the car starts to move. Any tips on how to help us through this desensitization process? I know desensitization takes time, so maybe it's just a matter of continuing to work on it every single day. Open to any and all suggestions. Thank you!
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